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What are the health impacts of the Sahara dust storm?

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The huge Sahara dust storm that created hazy and sometimes picturesque landscapes in parts of the US USA This week it continued its westward march on Friday and is expected to dissipate at the end of the weekend, experts told The Post.

The orange and sandy particles that cover the African Sahara desert, which covers the northern part of the continent, created dust clouds that spread across the Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean and the southeastern United States this week before turning towards the northwest on Friday.

As the dust impact photos begin to circulate, scorning memes about how terrible 2020 has become, questions have been raised about the health impacts of the dust and what it means for the coronavirus pandemic.

What are the health effects of the Sahara dust storm?

Dr. K Max Zhang of the Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Cornell University studies the health impacts of atmospheric particles.

He told The Post that there are three things to consider when it comes to the Sahara dust cloud: the size of the particles, the concentration and composition of the particles.

When it comes to size, Zhang said that about 30% of dust from the Sahara is considered “fine,” making the health impacts much worse.

“Typically, smaller particles can penetrate deeper into the lungs, and the health impacts become more [serious]Zhang told The Post.

“The particles cause irritation and respiratory health effects, and the smaller particles can cause cardiovascular problems and a host of other health impacts.”

Zhang said that the more concentrated the particles are, the more likely there will be health effects. So in states like Texas, Louisiana and territories like Puerto Rico, where everyone saw higher concentrations of dust, residents can expect a higher risk of health effects, Zhang said.

Finally, chemical composition is an extremely important thing to consider and has not been discussed enough, Zhang said.

“We are also talking about a phenomenon, an atmospheric process that brings particles from places in the south miles away,” Zhang said.

On that journey, the particles collect all kinds of pollutants, including emissions, soot, and exhaust particles, making the dust that lands in the United States “much more toxic” than what is actually found in the Sahara, Zhang said.

The consequences of breathing in the dust can range from sneezing, coughing, shortness of breath to premature death, Zhang said.

“If you already have a respiratory problem, you have been sick, and the higher level of contaminants only shortens the lifespan. The reaction of those contaminations probably depends on the individual.”

What does the Sahara dust storm mean for the coronavirus?

Poor air quality and high amounts of toxic dust affect anyone with a pre-existing respiratory condition, Zhang said. The same is true for those who suffer with the coronavirus.

“Even more than a reason to wear a mask,” said Zhang, adding that breathing in the dust can make the prognosis worse for COVID-19 patients.

On May 5, T.H. from Harvard University. The Chan School of Public Health published a study showing that air pollution is related to higher COVID-19 death rates. The study has not yet been peer reviewed.

Why is this happening and why is this Sahara dust storm so big?

Randy Adkins, a senior meteorologist at AccuWeather, said Sahara dust clouds are a natural phenomenon that occurs every year in June and July.

“It is just a seasonal thing that happens in parts of Africa where there are storm systems that develop along the border between the African savannah and the tropical parts of Africa and the Sahara desert,” Adkins told The Post, saying that the region is known as the “Sahell”.

“Between the beginning and the middle of June and the middle and the end of July, that is the period of time in which the activity of thunderstorms from the deepest tropics tends to rise to the north and with that increase in the activity of thunderstorms, the dry and arid soil found throughout the Sahell during spring is prone to developing these dust storms when these thunderstorms occur, “Adkins continued.

“You got a huge complex of thunderstorms that produces gusty winds and the ground surface is still very dry due to the long dry season, so those conditions are such that dust reaches the atmosphere in large quantities.”

While the phenomenon occurs every year, Adkins said it is “difficult to explain” why 2020 was so great.

“It really can’t be attributed to climate change, so I can’t say that’s the answer,” said Adkins.

“In this particular case, it is just a question that the thunderstorm activity that was taking place on the African continent was expansive and strong enough [to create the clouds] … not only covered a large area, but [the storms] they were quite robust in nature. “

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Trump administration warns against investing in Chinese companies

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The Trump administration warned of investing in Chinese companies due to the possibility of sanctions and boycotts for the Chinese Communist Party’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic and its strong-armed response to pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, according to a report.

National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien and Larry Kudlow, director of the National Economic Council, wrote in a letter to the United States Railroad Retirement Board that investments in China opened their retirees to “unnecessary economic risks,” the report said. Tuesday the New York Times. .

The letter also noted that the investments would put money in the hands of companies “that raise significant humanitarian and national security concerns,” including some that supply the Chinese military.

Citing a “moment of increasing uncertainty,” O’Brien and Kudlow said “the possibility of future sanctions or boycotts that may arise from a wide range of problems, including the Chinese government’s culpable actions regarding the global spread of the Covid – 19 pandemic, the suppression of democracy in Hong Kong. “

The Railroad Retirement Board, an independent federal agency, managed $ 28.3 billion in assets at the end of 2018, according to the report.

He said the board has placed the assets in a diversified portfolio like many private sector retirement plans have.

The White House warning comes at a time of heightened tension between Washington and Beijing.

President Trump blamed China for confusing his response to the coronavirus, which originated in Wuhan City.

And the world’s two largest economies have been involved in a trade war after Trump accused Beijing of treating American companies unfairly and stealing intellectual property.

Last week, China imposed a strict national security law in Hong Kong that cracks down on criticism of the Chinese Communist Party and penalizes “secession”, “subversion” and the organization of “terrorist activities”.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in an interview Monday with Fox News, said the United States is considering banning TikTok and other Chinese social media apps over concerns that they collect data from users and share it with the Chinese Communist Party.

“I don’t want to go out in front of [Trump]But it’s something we’re seeing, “said Pompeo.” We’re taking this very seriously. We’re certainly seeing it. “

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Portland Police Union Blames City Officials for Riots: “Condemn Violence”

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The Portland police union criticized public officials for allowing protesters to destroy the city, as protesters once again taunted police on Tuesday night.

In a publication titled “This Cannot Continue,” Portland Police Association President Daryl Turner called on elected officials to “stand up and defend Portland.”

“Condemn violence and burning, looting and destruction of property,” said Turner. “Trust and support the decisions made by law enforcement leaders who simply want to keep residents, business owners and peaceful protesters safe.”

The Black Lives Matter protests have been going on in Portland for more than a month after George Floyd’s death by police. However, protests have frequently turned violent amid clashes between police, protesters and members of the anti-fascist group Antifa.

Looters also ravaged businesses in downtown Portland in late May.

Turner said the police have suffered verbal and physical abuse for too long.

“As the riots continue, it is obvious to everyone that this is no longer about George Floyd, social justice, or police reform,” he said. “They are a group of individuals who try to cause injury, mayhem and destruction by mutiny, looting, lighting fires, throwing stones, bottles, mortars, urine and feces at peaceful protesters, as well as the police.

Police confront protesters as demonstrated by supporters of the Black Lives Matter in Portland, Oregon.

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Black Lives Matter protests continue in Portland

Police arrest protesters as demonstrated by Black Lives Matter supporters in Portland, Oregon.

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“These violent criminal acts have dragged on for nearly 40 days non-stop, while the men and women of the Portland Police Office and its associated agencies have shown staggering restraint in the face of the most divisive moment this country has seen in history modern “.

Turner’s letter concluded: “Keep the people of Portland safe and free from riot, while respecting their First Amendment rights. Support police leadership. Support officers. Tell those who intend to burn and loot our great city ​​not welcome here. Put Portland first.

The protests were largely peaceful on Tuesday night, when crowds gathered to pay tribute to Summer Taylor, the 24-year-old protester who died after being hit by a high-speed car Saturday in Seattle, Oregon Live reported. . At one point, a fight broke out between protesters, prompting police to respond and fire two noisy ammunition.

Video from the scene shows protesters confronting heavily armed police.

The groups had planned a “peaceful sit-in” on Tuesday night, as well as a “Night of Wrath for Summer Taylor.”

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Kazakh beach dwellers beat unconscious seal so kids could take photos

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A seal was beaten to unconsciousness by a group of men on a beach in Kazakhstan, so that children could take photos with it, according to a report.

The defenseless mammal was swimming in the Caspian Sea in Kuryk when the men launched their attack, the Daily Mail reported.

The video of the haunting assault shows the men hitting the seal with long sticks near the shoreline, and another man hoisting a large rock over his head.

Local media reports said the attack continued until the animal passed out, the Mail reported.

“They beat the seal until he passed out. Then they took it out of the water so that the children could take photos and have fun, ”said one witness in one of the reports. “After that, they threw the motionless body back into the sea. I don’t know if he survived. “

The animal attack occurs the same week that people threw rocks at another seal that was swimming in the water. The video of that incident was released by Kazakh model Yevgeniya Mukasheva.

Caspian seals are listed as endangered species.

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